World Continence Week

From the Continence Foundation of Australia:


World Continence Week June 19-25

Incontinence: No laughing matter


One in four Australian adults are incontinent, 80 per cent of them women. Half of these women (1.7 million) are aged 50 and under.

A recent national survey* of 1000 women with bladder leakage found that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) “laughed it off” when talking to other women about the issue.

Alarmingly, 85 per cent of the women who laughed it off mistakenly attributed their bladder leakage to ageing or having children, with 45 per cent not bothering to seek treatment because they didn’t consider it a serious enough health issue.

The Continence Foundation of Australia’s new campaign, Incontinence: no laughing matter,  urges Australians to take incontinence seriously, and to seek help to overcome the issue.

Continence Foundation chief executive Rowan Cockerell said the survey findings, released ahead of World Continence Week (June 19-25), showed people were still notprioritising pelvic floor health.

“Incontinence might be common, but it shouldn’t be considered normal, or a natural part of ageing or having a baby,” Ms Cockerell said.

“It’s disappointing to think people are laughing off or dismissing a problem that, in the majority of cases, can be cured or better managed.

 “We know that, left untreated, incontinence will not go away, but will often become a bigger problem as time goes on.

“People who ignore the issue are often unaware of the impact incontinence can have on their lifestyle, whether it’s avoiding exercise or limiting social engagements for fear of an embarrassing accident.

“The good news is treatment usually involves simple lifestyle changes and daily pelvic floor muscle exercises, which everyone should be doing anyway.”

 “Women don’t have to put up with this. They shouldn’t fear coughs or spring sneezes when there are proven, simple measures to prevent or cure bladder leakage,” Ms Cockerell said.

“Prevention is always better than cure, but early treatment is key to fixing the problem. There is plenty of help out there.”

Incontinence is one of the nation’s biggest health burdens, affecting 4.8 million adult Australians. It is more prevalent than arthritis (3.1 million), anxiety disorders (2.3 million) and asthma (2 million), and predicted to reach 6.5 million by 2030.

Ms Cockerell encouraged people affected by incontinence to phone the free National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66) for advice or information on local continence services, or to go to

Vanessa has trained in women's health, including treating women who suffer from urinary incontinence. For more information see here

* Pure profile research conducted the national research in March 2017 with 1000 women aged 30 and over who had experienced bladder incontinence.

The Continence Foundation of Australia is a not-for-profit organisation and the national peak body for incontinence awareness, management and advocacy. The Foundation is funded by the Australian Government under the National Continence Program.

Abdominal Separation - Rectus Diastasis

Abdominal Separation - Rectus Diastasis

What you really need to know about fixing your abdominal separation!

Bladder Control Problem?

Do any of these apply to you?

  • do you sometimes feel you have not completely emptied your bladder?
  • do you have to rush to use the toilet?
  • are you frequently nervous because you think you might lose control of your bladder?
  • do you wake up twice or more during the night to go to the toilet?
  • do you leak before you get to the toilet?
  • do you plan your daily routine around where the nearest toilet is?
  • do you leak when you laugh or sneeze?
  • do you leak when you lift something heavy?
  • do you leak when you play sport?
  • do you leak when you change from a seated or lying position to a standing position?

If you answered YES to any of the above - this may be an indication that you may have a bladder control problem. 

Many people put up with these bladder symptoms, accepting it as a normal part of ageing, or from having babies. However, it is important to know that none of these symptoms are normal, and treatment is available and can be quite successful! It is common to have bladder control problems (almost 4 million Australians suffer with incontinence) so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to seek help.  


Here a few tips to get you started to better bladder control:

  • try not to go to the toilet ‘just in case’ 
  • take time to fully empty your bladder
  • do not strain when emptying your bowels
  • drink water according to your thirst (if you’re adequately hydrated, your urine will be pale and bowel motions soft)
  • cut down on caffeine and alcohol - these can act as irritants to your bladder
  • keep your pelvic floor muscles strong, with regular pelvic floor exercises.


The Continence Foundation has lots of great resources and Vanessa is available for confidential discussion on whether a pelvic floor physiotherapy consultation is appropriate for you. To learn more, the next workshop on pelvic floor disorders (prolapse, stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder) will be held on February the 8th 2016.

The importance of having good posture

Why is it so important to have good posture?

Activating your deep abdominal muscles - Step two

In the last newsletter I talked about the importance of the transversus abdominus muscle and how to activate it. Hopefully you have had time to give it a go and see some results! The next step in using this muscle and improving stability around the spine is to learn how to integrate breathing. It’s great if you can activate the muscle - but not so functional if you can only do it whilst holding your breath!! 

Some of the time, when teaching patients how to activate this muscle they want to suck their belly in on an inhalation, then they either hold their breath, or as soon as they resume regular breathing any sort of contraction is lost. 

First, you need to find the correct breathing pattern. To improve the stability of your spine and the effectiveness of your breathing you should try and aim for outwards movement of your lower ribs. 

  1. lie in the rest position (on your back, knees bent up)
  2. place your hands across the bottom of your rib cage, and interlock your fingers slightly.
  3. now take in a deep breath through your nose- if you are using the correct pattern, your fingers will come apart slightly, as you let that breath go - your fingers will glide back together

Practise this a few times. If you’re having trouble finding this pattern of breathing, try take a big sniff in through your nose - this should create the movement of the ribs we are looking for. 

Next, try to co-ordinate the two!

  1. lie in the rest position (on your back, knees bent up)
  2. using your fingers - find the prominent pelvic bones at the front of your hip area, now move them in and down about 1cm and gently press into your tummy
  3. take a deep breath in, then let all the air gently out (i.e. don’t force it out)
  4. now, gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles - you should feel a small amount of tension develop underneath your fingertips
  5. holding this tension under your fingertips, try to resume your breathing - using the pattern you practised above

Try to hold for 10 breath cycles

This might take a bit of practise and concentration to co-ordinate the two, but once you have it mastered you will be able to do it without thinking about it!

Activating your deep abdominal muscles - Step one

Instructions on how to activate the transversus abdominis - your deep adbominal muscles